Archive for category Yemen

UAE: The Australian In Charge of the UAE Presidential Guard

I thought this was cool. Apparently Mike Hindmarsh has been an advisor/commanding general of the UAE’s Presidential Guard since 2009, which performs their special operations mission. Mike’s background is that he was SASR and Special Operations Commander of Australia. This guy is a stud, and the UAE pays handsomely for his services.

The Presidential Guard has been active in Afghanistan over the years, so they do have some combat experience. They have also done some good training with the US Marines. I also imagine that it was these folks that rescued British hostage Robert Semple in Yemen back in August.

Now here is a thought. Maybe Hindmarsh will be the guy commanding these Colombian forces deploying to Yemen?Matt


Commander of the UAE Presidential Guard, Mike Hindmarch, Delivers a Lecture at the National Defense College Entitled “Counterinsurgency Operations”.

United Arab Emirates poaches former major-general Mike Hindmarsh as security adviser
DECEMBER 03, 2009
AUSTRALIA’S top special forces general has been poached by an Arab ruler to work as his national security guru.
Former major-general Mike Hindmarsh retired from his $230,000-a-year job last June after just months as head of the army’s Training Command after a 12-month stint as commander of the Middle East Area of Operations.
The ex-Special Operations Command and SAS chief has moved to Abu Dhabi to work as national security adviser to the United Arab Emirates.
His salary is unknown, but senior advisers in oil-rich states that are not burdened by democratic processes such as parliaments can earn more than $500,000-a-year tax free.
Mr Hindmarsh reports to Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Crown Prince General Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Senior sources said the top-secret appointment was made after months of negotiations and was cleared by defence chief Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston and the Federal Government. “This has been going on for 18 months,” one said.
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Yemen: UAE Deploys It’s Colombian Mercenaries To Yemen

Very interesting news and I thought I would put this up on the blog incase someone has any other information to add to this news. I held off on talking about this when news of it first trickled out, all because I could not find any legitimate news group to confirm it. The New York Times was the group that originally broke the story about Reflex Responses and I put that up on the blog back in 2011. I haven’t heard much about it since.

I do know that the whole thing switched from a PMSC scheme with Reflex Responses as the recruiting company, to just a recruitment of Latin Americans directly to fight for the UAE armed forces. I talked about that transition here and here. It has been quite the drain on the Colombian market of force. Those guys must have been pretty bored all of these years.

Now that the UAE actually has a war to fight in Yemen, and they have lost a few of their own in that war, I am sure the idea of using more foreign troops to do that job will be more appealing to the locals of the UAE. The houthis and Saleh’s guys are definitely giving them a fight, and even launching ballistic missiles.

Back to the deployment of mercenaries in Yemen. What is interesting is that there is some history of mercenaries being used in that part of the world. Former SAS guys were recruited to fight there back in the sixties and did quite well. I imagine the current coalition will use these Colombian/Latin forces for basic infantry tasks, like guarding facilities or light patrolling. We will see how far they will go in their usage. Here is a quote about the make up of this force and what they are getting paid.

The Emiratis have spent the equivalent of millions of dollars equipping the unit, from firearms and armored vehicles to communications systems and night vision technology. But Emirati leaders rarely visit the camp. When they do, the troops put on tactical demonstrations, including rappelling from helicopters and driving armored dune buggies.
And yet they stay largely because of the money, receiving salaries ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 a month, compared with approximately $400 a month they would make in Colombia. Those troops who deploy to Yemen will receive an additional $1,000 per week, according to a person involved in the project and a former senior Colombian military officer.
Hundreds of Colombian troops have been trained in the Emirates since the project began in 2010 — so many that the Colombian government once tried to broker an agreement with Emirati officials to stanch the flow headed to the Persian Gulf. Representatives from the two governments met, but an agreement was never signed.
Most of the recruiting of former troops in Colombia is done by Global Enterprises, a Colombian company run by a former special operations commander named Oscar Garcia Batte. Mr. Batte is also co-commander of the brigade of Colombian troops in the Emirates, and is part of the force now deployed in Yemen.

I could not find Oscar’s company online and if anyone has a link, I will update it here. I did find him on Linkedin, but no mention of Global Enterprises. Interesting stuff and we will see how it goes for them. I imagine we will see more of this kind of thing amongst the wealthy gulf nations. ISIS and Al Qaeda are both expanding and morphing into hybrid terrorist armies, and Iran continues to meddle and cause trouble. The middle east will continue to require manpower for it’s wars and security, and private industry will certainly answer the call. –Matt


Emirates Secretly Sends Colombian Mercenaries to Fight in Yemen
NOV. 25, 2015
The United Arab Emirates has secretly dispatched hundreds of Colombian mercenaries to Yemen to fight in that country’s raging conflict, adding a volatile new element in a complex proxy war that has drawn in the United States and Iran.
It is the first combat deployment for a foreign army that the Emirates has quietly built in the desert over the past five years, according to several people currently or formerly involved with the project. The program was once managed by a private company connected to Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater Worldwide, but the people involved in the effort said that his role ended several years ago and that it has since been run by the Emirati military.
The arrival in Yemen of 450 Latin American troops — among them are also Panamanian, Salvadoran and Chilean soldiers — adds to the chaotic stew of government armies, armed tribes, terrorist networks and Yemeni militias currently at war in the country. Earlier this year, a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia, including the United States, began a military campaign in Yemen against Houthi rebels who have pushed the Yemeni government out of the capital, Sana.
It is also a glimpse into the future of war. Wealthy Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Emirates, have in recent years embraced a more aggressive military strategy throughout the Middle East, trying to rein in the chaos unleashed by the Arab revolutions that began in late 2010. But these countries wade into the new conflicts — whether in Yemen, Syria or Libya — with militaries that are unused to sustained warfare and populations with generally little interest in military service.

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Al Qaeda: Anwar al-Aulaqi and Samir Khan Are Killed in Yemen!

This is fantastic news! Both of these guys have been high on the most wanted list for awhile, and they were crucial to the propaganda arm of Al Qaeda. They are also American born, which makes their deaths even better. Nothing makes me happier than to see traitors of this country get their just deserve in the form of a hellfire missile. Death to Al Qaeda!!! –Matt

Edit: 10/01/2011- It sounds like there was a third AQ individual killed in this strike, and he is a top target as well. His name is Ibrahim al-Asiri, and he is a top bomb maker responsible for the manufacture of the underwear bomb and the printer bomb used in operations. Outstanding.

Edit: 10/02/2011- On the other hand, it sounds like al-Asiri was not killed. lol


Anwar al-Aulaqi and Samir Khan.


Anwar al-Aulaqi, U.S.-born cleric linked to al-Qaeda, reported killed in Yemen
By Sudarsan Raghavan
September 30, 2011
Anwar al-Aulaqi, a radical U.S.-born Muslim cleric and one of the most influential al-Qaeda leaders wanted by the United States, was killed Friday in a U.S. drone strike in northern Yemen, Yemeni and American authorities said, eliminating a prominent terrorist recruiter who inspired attacks on U.S. soil.
The strike also killed a second U.S. citizen — Samir Khan, the co-editor of an al-Qaeda magazine — and two other unidentified al-Qaeda operatives, the Yemeni government said. But tribal leaders in the area said at least seven people were killed. They identified one of the others as al-Qaeda militant named Salem bin Arfaaj.
In Washington, senior Obama administration officials confirmed that Aulaqi, 40, a dual national of the United States and Yemen, and Khan were killed in a drone strike on their convoy.
President Obama called Aulaqi’s death “a major blow to al-Qaeda’s most active operational affiliate” and described him as “the leader of external operations for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” a group known as AQAP.
“In that role, he took the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans,” Obama said at a ceremony honoring the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at Fort Myer, Va.
Khan, a member of AQAP, co-edited the group’s slick English-language Internet magazine, Inspire, which was intended to recruit Westerners to al-Qaeda’s fold. Aulaqi was also believed to have played a role in creating the online-only magazine, whose first issue in July 2010 included an article titled “Making a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.” Khan, a Saudi-born U.S. citizen raised in Queens, N.Y., and Charlotte, traveled to Yemen to join AQAP and likely operated under Aulaqi’s direction, terrorism experts have said.
Mohammed al-Basha, a Yemeni government spokesman, said in an e-mail that Yemeni intelligence had pinpointed Aulaqi’s hideout and monitored his movements before the airstrike.

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Al Qaeda: Closer Ties Between Somali And Yemeni Jihadists Threatens Oil Through Gulf Of Aden

Well this was a no brainer, but at least folks are talking about it now. So if Yemeni and Somali jihadists are working together, and Al Shabab is taking a 20 percent cut in piracy ransoms, then I wonder what the Yemeni cuts are? I mean that is a lot of shoreline now that a pirate could call home, if they were backed by the jihadists. If they did not have the support of the jihadists, then I would imagine they would come up against some problems.

The other way to look at this deal is the drug trade in Latin America. If you are a drug dealer in Central or South America, do you think you can set up your own shop and not get hassled by any of the large cartels? Of course not. If you did not cut them in, they would kill you. Or they would kill your family, and then tell you to sell more drugs for them! lol

So if Al Qaeda moves to control this corridor called the Gulf of Aden, then why wouldn’t they want to control these pirates? They could make money off of operations and they would disrupt western and middle eastern interest (oil flow, commerce). Jihadist privateering is a logical conclusion.

Now on to solutions, besides just putting armed guards on boats or squaring away those countries on land. I personally like the Q-ship idea. It is the ultimate zheng and qi strategy, and it would be one that pirates would have a very difficult time countering. The basic scheme is that you use a tanker or whatever boat as bait, and make it look like an unarmed vessel. You could even make it look like it is in distress. Then if it attracts a pirate crew and they go into attack mode and show their guns, an anti-piracy force outflanks that pirate crew and takes them down. You would have a force on the ship open up with the big guns, and a force on water that could attack. Whatever a team wants to use to get the job done. The cool thing is that there is no terrain for a pirate to hide behind, and you actually want the pirates to attack.

This idea though, would need a license by whatever country the vessel is flagged under, and there must be rules identified for killing and capturing pirates. There must be incentive as well, because if you want everyone to get involved with destroying piracy, you need to make it a venture or offense industry that ships would want to get involved with. Ideally, you would also want to capture the pirates and collect information from those detainees so networks can be studied and dismantled. So there must be a mechanism that supports the legal capture of pirates, if possible. Especially if an anti-piracy team wounds some pirates and those poor fools are in a sinking vessel. Do we let them die, or do we have a responsibility to capture them and care for them until those individuals are delivered to a detention center.

I believe all of these details could be hashed out in a Letter of Marque, much like they were in the past. As it stands now, we have armed security teams on boats that are great at repelling the assault, but they have no authorization from anyone to capture/detain or even care for wounded pirates?  What sense does it make to have shoot out’s with these guys, but have no means of legally detaining them and taking that pirate crew out of the system?

Now of course this tactic would have multiple legal issues to overcome before it would ever be considered. But honestly, something has to be done because the problem is only getting bigger and it is morphing into an animal that is certainly a threat to the global economies and innocent people. I also fear the day that pirates decide to capture a vessel and outright hand it over to Al Qaeda. Something like ramming a natural gas tanker into a heavily populated port or sinking the thing in gut of the Straits of Hormuz is a frightening thought. Believe me, if you can think it up, the other side has probably thought of it too.-Matt

Closer ties between Somali and Yemeni jihadists threatens oil through Aden Gulf
Monday, 18 July 2011
Affiliates of Al Qaeda operating on opposite shores of key oil-export routes through the Gulf of Aden have forged closer ties in what could emerge as a substantial threat by a group that has been dealt severe body blows by the Arab revolt sweeping the Middle East and North Africa and the killing in May of Osama Bin Laden by US Navy Seals. ?The closer ties between Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al Shabaab in war-shattered Somalia is sparking concern among intelligence and counter-terrorism officials who suggest that AQAP may be the driving force behind closer cooperation between the two groups.

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Maritime Security: Naval Guard’s Escort Forces Save The Day, Repel Pirate Attack Off Coast Of Yemen

     Naval Guards’ Operations Chief, Thomas Jakobssen, explained to gCaptain that the 42-meter escort vessel Marshal-5 had been shadowing the Capricorn at a distance of approximately 100m when both vessels were attacked simultaneously by the Somali pirates.  Reacting quickly, Capricorn’s crew fled to previously rehearsed hiding spots on the yacht, buying them valuable time as their rescuer’s fought off the pirates.

     After a fierce exchange of gunfire between the pirates and the escort vessel, there were no injuries reported on either side, and only minor damage to the vessels themselves.  With a clear firepower advantage however, the Naval Guards quickly gained control of the situation and the pirates gave up.


     This story has not received much attention because of all the other news going on out there.  But because this blog tracks the security contracting industry, to include maritime security contracting, this stuff is relevant and deserves some attention.

     If you go to Naval Guard’s website and check out their Alerts section, you will see all of the attacks they have had to deal with the last couple of months.  I am not sure if this incident below is the only one in which they had an exchange of gun fire with pirates, but it does highlight the danger these companies face out there.

     Also, a hat tip to gCaptain for getting some clarification on the story. Take note of the effective use of safe rooms and armed security.  Safe rooms alone will not save the day. That safe room will buy you time and safety until an armed guard force from a nearby escort ship can clear the vessel of these heathens. Or if you actually had the armed guards on the boat, they would be even quicker to respond to attacks and even prevent some because of how close they are to the action. (these escorts were 100m away, and this attack still happened, and pirates still boarded!)

     The other thing to mention here is the type of attack that happened. The pirates attacked the escort ship and the target vessel at the same time (a swarm attack, a distraction move, desperation, ignorance, who knows why?).  I am thinking that the pirates were either desperate, or they felt if they could board the target vessel, that a private guard force would not take the risk and further endanger the lives of the crew with a rescue assault. They thought wrong, and Naval Guards and their client had a plan and they were prepared for such an assault. But I don’t know everything about this, and it would be cool to read a full blown AAR on this incident.

    I am also going to guess that they probably did not know the intent of this attacking pirate force until it was too late.  The rules of engagement-the shoot no shoot scenario-the policy written up between client and escort are all at play here.  It would be interesting to hear how these pirates were able to get so close and act so quickly–did the escort vessel not see it, or were they restricted by the ROE?  Mind you, companies cannot go on the offensive, and can only be used defensively.  So this might have been a factor in why the pirates were able to attack and board so quickly. Thanks to George for sending me this. –Matt

Armed guards open fire as ship attacked off Yemen

March 03, 2011

A maritime news portal says armed guards stopped an attack on a Danish-owned vessel when they exchanged fire with suspected pirates. says no one was injured on the Singapore-registered Brattingborg that has a Thai crew in Thursday’s attack.

Shipowner Lars Steen Rasmussen was quoted as saying it was the first time the company had armed guards on one of its ships. He could not be reached for comments.

The attack comes days after suspected Somali pirates captured a Danish yacht in the Indian Ocean.

Earlier Thursday, the head of a private security company said his guards retook a yacht from Somali pirates after the Dutch couple on board locked themselves in a safe room.

Thomas Jakobsson of Naval Guards said Thursday that six of his guards were accompanying the Capricorn yacht on a separate motorboat. Six armed pirates were able to get aboard the Capricorn but the Dutch couple barricaded themselves in the boat.

Jakobsson says his men had a brief exchange of fire with the pirates before retaking the Capricorn with no casualties on either side.

Story here.


Yacht crew rescued from pirate attack by private security firm

From the gCaptain

March 3rd 2011

Private security firm Naval Guards Ltd successfully rescued their Dutch clients on board M/Y Capricorn after it had been overrun by pirates in the central Arabian Sea yesterday.  The crew of the 21-meter M/Y Capricorn had contracted Naval Guards Ltd to provide armed escort for their eastbound trip from Djibouti in the western Gulf of Aden, through the Arabian Sea.

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Books: The War That Never Was, By Duff Hart Davis

By 1967, there were still a dozen British mercenaries in the Yemen, training the royalists, laying mines and setting up ambushes. More than 20,000 of Nasser’s troops had been killed, while the Yemeni royalists had lost 5,000. 

In June that year, as Nasser and his allies prepared to go to war with Israel, the Israelis launched pre-emptive air strikes, destroying the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian air forces. 

With their total air superiority, they were able to decimate Nasser’s army as it advanced, wrecking its tanks and killing more than 15,000 men. Thousands more surrendered.

The Six Day War was a resounding victory for Israel — and spelt the end of Nasser’s dreams of dominating the Arabian peninsular. He withdrew from Yemen and after four years the Egyptian occupation was over. 

I have not been able to get my hands on this book and read it, but it definitely caught my eye after reading this review below.  These guys remind me of such famous and highly effective private fighting forces like the Flying Tigers or Executive Outcomes. This private army had a huge impact on events in the region as you can see from the quote up top, and this book supposedly lays it all out.

Probably the one story in this article that caught my eye was the event where they cut out the lungs of a poison gas victim, to send it back to Britain and prove that Egypt was using poison gas in Yemen.  That is news to me and I did not know that Egypt was using WMD’s during that war.

I also thought it was funny that Saudi Arabia Royalty funded the operation, which also included an Israeli air supply contingent.  Like the article mentioned, Saudi Arabia did not know this little fact and I am sure they would have cut off funding if they had found out. lol Cool book and if any of the readership has anything to add, please feel free to comment. –Matt

Buy the book here.

Jim Johnson, the leader of this private army.(he passed away in 2008)

How a rag-tag team of SAS veterans changed history in a secret war Britain STILL won’t admit

By Annabel Venning17th February 2011

Crouching behind rocks in the rugged mountains that rose abruptly out of the Yemen desert, were three British soldiers, former members of the SAS, together with their commander, Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Cooper.

They had lain in wait, machine guns at the ready, all through the cold desert night. At 9am the first Egyptian soldiers advanced into the wadi (gully), their infantry packed shoulder to shoulder, followed by tanks and artillery.

Behind the rocks, nobody moved. The success of the ambush depended on surprise. Then, as the enemy reached a small plain that Cooper had designated as the ‘killing ground,’ he gave the signal.

A rattle of machine gun fire cut through the wadi, bullets sending geysers of sand into the air, amid screams of pain and terror.

The Egyptians’ front ranks tumbled, Cooper remembered: ‘Like ninepins. Panic broke out in the ranks behind and then their tanks opened fire. Their shells were exploding?.?.?.?among their own men.’

In the ten-minute firefight that ensued, many of the Egyptian casualties were from their own guns. All day they fired on Cooper’s positions. But he and his men, with their Yemeni comrades, were dug well into their ‘funk holes’. As night fell the Egyptian force withdrew back to their base in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a, leaving 85 bodies behind.

It was a rout, the first of many successful engagements that over the next four years would see a small force of British soldiers fight fiercely in a desert war of which most of their countrymen were unaware.

Wearing Arab dress, like latter-day Lawrences of Arabia, the men, mostly ex-SAS, fought in a savage, dirty war of poison bombs, secret airdrops and desert shoot-outs.

It was an operation that began with a deal made over gin and tonics in a Mayfair gentlemen’s club and progressed into arms smuggling, ambushes and the existence of a private army, directed from a one-room basement headquarters in Chelsea by a debonair former Army officer and his sidekick, a beautiful former debutante.

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